Project Management: Good, Fast, Cheap - which TWO do you want?
It's not difficult..
..so why do so many senior managers just not get it? In any major project, there is a strong relationship between quality of solution, speed of implementation, and total cost. Every project manager and project engineer of reasonable experience understands the relationship intuitively, even if they have never consciously thought it through. But many industries are plagued with managers who have never worked in the field and believe they can, by sheer force of will (read shouting, blaming and throwing tantrums) circumvent the natural order of things. They can also swim uphill and even walk on water - in their dreams.
Good, Fast, Cheap, the deal:
Let's say the manager hasn't lost the plot completely and still understands that quality is important. S/he wants a Good project. If s/he then insists on having the best and having it now, that's possible too - but at a price. The suppliers will have to mobilise more and better people to do the work. They will have to divert resources from other projects, reprioritising this job above all others. All possible, but someone has to pay. Guess who? On the other hand, the inevitable consequence of insisting on good and cheap is time slippage as the project gets queued behind the ones that are willing to pay the going rate.
Or, perhaps the manager reckons that a quick result is the most important criterion. If s/he then insists on best price, that's OK too, provided s/he'll be happy with a half-baked installation that simply won't work and will serve only to annoy and alienate all the end users.
No matter how you look at this, from the Good, Fast, Cheap triangle, you can never have all three. There is always a compromise. Ideally, Management would insist on high quality projects. They would set reasonable timescales, and would be in a position to do so, having carried out thorough strategic planning. And they would expect to pay a fair rate for the goods and services provided.
But they don't.
More by this Author
However smoothly the defaulting company accountants may dress their message, late, short or non-payment is theft. In extreme cases it can even degenerate to slavery.
A Business Case is a rigorous (and usually financial) advocacy of a proposed course of action, clearly presented for objective scrutiny in order to win approval for a new Project. Here's how to write a successful...
A quick, reliable way to make cider without specialist equipment, ingredients, or knowledge. An ideal summer drink.